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The Most Needed Programming Languages and Tech Skills in South Africa


TechInAfrica — A new study has launched by Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and the Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) concerning South Africa’s IT industry.

It shows in the report that conditions have improved considerably since the 2008 survey. At that time, all respondents indicated that they were dealing with a shortage of IT skills.

The report states, “Several factors can influence this trend, On the negative side, the stagnant economy has reduced the business prospects of the employers, thus reducing the demand for skills, although that is not borne out by the number of respondents saying the opposite.

“On the positive side, the various initiatives to close the skills gap are bearing some fruit, whether the new resources are coming from immigrants, private sector / NGO skills programs or better output from the education pipeline.”

Truthfully, the need for skills is no longer considered as urgent. However, the study shows that the average South African ICT practitioner continues to perform multiple task sets and only a few of them identify themselves as specialists.

Read also: Coding has Become a New Thing for Unemployed South Africans

Adrian Schofield, the production consultant at the IITPSA, said, “This is a unique property of South African ICT practitioners, which makes us very different from our counterparts in Europe and the US and may partly have come about as a result of skills shortages.”

In the survey, it is found that the most needed skills for now and over the next year include:

  • Information Security/Cybersecurity;
  • DevOps;
  • Big data design/analytics;
  • Artificial intelligence/machine learning;
  • Blockchain;
  • Test automation/performance testing;
  • Internet of Things.

The chart below shows the respondents’ view on which skills are most needed now and which in a year from now.

The indicators shown are the blue (now) and grey (next year) lines where it is clearly longer than the orange and yellow lines, and suggesting a sufficiency of those skills.


The pattern of demand for programming languages in 2019 sees Python move into second place behind Java and ahead of C#.

In 2018 Java was in the lead, followed by C# and Python. .NET, C++, HTML and SQL followed.

In 2017 was Java with C# in placed second, unchanged from 2016. Python moved into the third spot, with .NET and C++ placed fourth similarly.

Equally but in lesser quality, R, PHP, COBOL, and Delphi all get mentioned. In 2016 the top languages were also Java and C#, followed by VB.NET and PHP. In 2014 was very similar to 2012, with Java, C#, .NET, C++ and VB being the most popular.




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